NCC, Nigeria telecoms watchdog, to execute alternative funding agreement with licensed INFRACOs
The Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta has revealed that the Commission is set to carryout Counterpart Funding Agreements with licensed Infrastructure Companies (INFRACOs) to ease Right of Way financing without setting a timeline.
The EVC said this Wednesday at a 2020 virtual webinar organised by the National Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA).
What NCC CEO said
Danbatta, who spoke on the theme: “Multi-Stakeholder Approach to National Recovery Post-Pandemic,” said there is no better time than now to talk about NCC’s preparedness in addressing the prevailing situation.
“The NCC is in the process of executing the counterpart Funding Agreements with licensed INFRACOs to facilitate increase in fibre deployment around the country to enhance the digital transformation agenda of the Federal Government’’, he said.
He noted that “these timely measures have been very instrumental to the survival of SMEs that have had to ride on the backbone of Telecoms infrastructure in order to survive the pandemic.”
The NCC CEO also said it became imperative for the Commission to introduce drastic measures aimed at providing proper regulatory framework for the industry and also to ensure that Nigerian subscribers receive value for money. We set out to license Infrastructure companies (INFRACOs) with the sole purpose of bridging these existing gaps.
“In line with our determination to drive broadband access, we have six (6) licensed INFRACOs, with one in each geo-political zone of the country. Lagos State receives special recognition and possesses its own license because of its commercial centrality to the country. The seventh license for the North-Central region is being processed.”
“Achieving rapid connectivity means that we must engage with stakeholders to facilitate infrastructure deployment in the sector. To this end, the Commission has intensified its engagement, collectively with Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) and individually with state governors to push the National Economic Council’s resolutions on multiple taxation, multiple regulations and minimum uniform Right of Way (RoW) charges, as well as address other issues impeding telecoms infrastructure deployment in some states.”
Speaking further, Danbatta said the Commission is vigorously working to establish a policy for 5G with multi-sector Stakeholders, including the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), The Academia, Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Industry Consultative Advisory Forum (ICAF) and a host of others.
“Our goal is that when the Federal Government is able to establish a policy that will drive 5G, all the benefits of 5G will be properly harnessed by Nigerians. The Commission is also working to ensure the safety of 5G networks in Nigeria by having multi-stakeholder approach in environmental impact analysis on the use of 5G and the Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) impact on humans in Nigeria. Once this is done, Nigerians can safely utilize 5G and reap all the economic, human and material benefits of 5G.”
“The economic benefits to 5G to Nigeria post corona virus pandemic will be huge, especially as almost all businesses and activities of government are migrating and offering their services online. 5G will enable a new kind of network for Nigerians designed to connect virtually everyone and everything together including machines, objects, and devices. It will usher in the era of Internet of Things and faster innovation in Artificial Intelligence applications.”